Our Planet

The new solar panels would filter light more efficiently.

Farmers May Not Have to Choose Between Crops and Solar Panels

With a new photovoltaic panel, researchers harness sunshine to harvest energy and food together, taking advantage of the full light spectrum

About 100 miles northwest of Mexico City in the UNESCO-designated Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, up to a billion of the brilliant-winged insects spend November to March clustered on branches.

A Ring of Fire, Millions of Monarchs and Other Rare Natural Phenomena Worth Traveling For

Be in the right place at the right time to witness these sublime sights

Thwaites Glacier as captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, November 26, 2020.

How We Came to Know and Fear the Doomsday Glacier

We’re only beginning to understand Antarctica's Thwaites, the world's most vulnerable glacier

Copepods at various life stages teem inside a water droplet. The creatures go through six larval and six juvenile stages between egg and adulthood. They grow a new pair of legs at each stage.

These Gorgeous Photos Capture Life Inside a Drop of Seawater

A passion for the infinitesimal leads a photographer to discover the countless creatures that live unseen in the ocean

This cross section of a sequoia in Yosemite National Park in California has markers identifying the dates of tree rings.

The Science Behind the Oldest Trees on Earth

How experts have determined that bristlecone pines, sequoias and baobabs have stood for thousands of years

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The Ten Most Significant Science Stories of 2022

From Omicron’s spread to a revelation made using ancient DNA, these were the biggest moments of the past year

On the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the bare, whitened trunks of a “ghost forest” are one of the effects of surging waters that turn woodland into marsh.

Why Marshlands Are the Perfect Lab for Studying Climate Change

At the border between land and sea, an extraordinary set of experiments is helping us prepare for an uncertain future

The Maka Niu, a low-cost, customizable deep-sea observing tool is currently undergoing testing around the world, including at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts.

This Low-Cost Device Could Make the Deep Sea Accessible to Everyone

The inexpensive Maka Niu collects video and data at depths more than five times greater than trained scuba divers can go

The project started eight years ago, when artists Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott had no words to describe the anxiety they were experiencing over California’s drought.

Art Meets Science

How Two California Artists Can Help Personalize Your Eco-Grief

Alicia Escott and Heidi Quante founded the Bureau of Linguistical Reality to create words to help describe people's feelings about climate change

The current drought reveals lost items from earlier, wetter times, like this sunken boat near Iceberg Canyon.

The Breathtaking Glen Canyon Reveals Its Secrets

Water woes threaten America’s second largest reservoir—but leave new vistas in their wake

Burls are bark-covered growths that can protrude from a tree’s trunk. They contain unsprouted bud tissue, and produce a wood that’s valued for its unique grain and smooth workability.

What Is the Financial Value of an Old-Growth Tree?

In setting fines for timber poaching, experts are looking at different ways to calculate the worth of trees

Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty (1970). Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Mud, precipitated salt crystals, rocks, water. 1,500 ft. (457.2 m) long and 15 ft. (4.6 m) wide. Collection Dia Art Foundation. Photograph: William T. Carson, 2020

How Utah's 'Spiral Jetty' Is Drawing Attention to the Climate Crisis

Years of drought have exposed Robert Smithson's massive earthwork in the Great Salt Lake

Eelgrass grows in the waters off Birch Island, Maine. The plant supports a bountiful and diverse ecosystem.

Why Eelgrass in the Atlantic Ocean Faces an Uphill Battle

The Ice Age left the plant off our East Coast with less genetic diversity than its relative in the Pacific

A wave carrying plastic washes up in Thailand. For microbes in the ocean, floating plastic is a new potential ecosystem. And those microbes include pathogens that can make people sick. 

Human Pathogens Are Hitching a Ride on Floating Plastic

Studies show that various harmful bacteria cling to microplastics in seawater

Quebec’s Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are at the mercy of rising sea levels and increasing storm surges. The fragile dunes, lagoons, marshes, and sandstone cliffs are all at risk of being lost.

The Sea Is Slowly Consuming Quebec's Magdalen Islands

Those living in the doomed paradise face a stark choice: resist, adapt, or give in to the ravenous ocean

Sea turtles, such as olive ridleys and loggerheads, spend most of their time just below the ocean’s surface—the perfect place to collect data for tropical cyclone forecasting.

Tagged Turtles Are Helping Scientists Predict Cyclones

In the southeast Indian Ocean, turtle-borne sensors are filling in the gaps researchers need to forecast storms

In the midst of fire- and drought-ravaged savanna in southeastern Madagascar, a curiously lush green forest is home to myriad unexpected life-forms, including a species of mouse lemur.

Into the Forbidden Forest

Famed American biologist Patricia Wright explores an astonishing breadth of biodiversity in the wilderness of Madagascar

Struvite is a nuisance for wastewater treatment plants, as it can clog pipes and lines. But the crystal, which is high in phosphorous, nitrogen, and magnesium, makes an excellent slow-release fertilizer for seagrass.

Human Pee Might Just Be the Key to Saving Seagrass

Treating wastewater creates struvite—a nutrient-rich crystal that bolsters struggling seagrass beds

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When Coal First Arrived, Americans Said 'No Thanks'

Back in the 19th century, coal was the nation's newfangled fuel source—and it faced the same resistance as wind and solar today

In their dissent, the court's three liberal judges wrote that their fellow justices had stripped the EPA of “the power to respond to the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.”

History of Now

How the Clean Air Act Came to Be

A new Supreme Court ruling curbs the EPA's ability to regulate carbon pollution under the 1970 legislation

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